After Flappy Bird’s lofty flight to the top of the App Store, during which it landed chaos on society, developer Dong Nguyen announced its shortsighted termination. Finally, we can put behind us all the terrors our fine-feathered friend brought on us!
Flappy Bird: a game out of nowhere, an overnight success, a bringer of Armageddon. It is described by some as the embodiment of sheer frustration. Its addictive nature leaves millions of players helplessly trapped, repeatedly playing the game for hours, even for days on end. Already, Flappy Bird has the world in the stranglehold of its talons.
In many cases, Flappy Bird players are victimized in frightening ways by its alluring gameplay. Some reports from App Store reviewers and faithful fans of the game are as follows:
“I played it once and said okay just one more time. That ‘one more time’ never ended. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I’m losing friends all because of Flappy Bird. I see Flappy Bird in my dreams, it’s always there. I keep wanted [sic] to go back and just beat my high score, but it doesn’t stop.”
• “Mxndlsnsk”, with a rating of ★★★★★
“My life is over. Your life is over. The world is over…. you can’t escape it. No one can. You can’t run. You can’t hide. It’s here. The game owns you. It even took me 3 hours to type this between games.”
• “Walter19230” , with a rating of ★★★★★
“I am taunted by this bird. He looks at me, even when I am not playing. I feel him in the space around me. Flappy bird demolished all of my hopes and dreams. Caution to all possible downloaders. This little bird with flappy little wings is demonic. This chicken nugget has consumed my sanity. … Do not download this game, because it will cause you PERMANENT mental and emotional instability.”
• “dontjwjsidiwjddjwkw” , with a rating of ★★★★
“It’s almost as if Satan designed this game from hell, and is now watching almost all of mankind suffer. It just doesn’t make sense. None of it makes sense. How can a game that looks so simple… be SO indescribably difficult and life ruining?”
• “angryflappybirder” , with a rating of ★★★★★
Despite the dominantly negatively-connoted feedback that Flappy Bird has garnered under its wings, ratings remain consistent in the 4 or 5 star “positive” zone, averaging 4 stars at its peak of over 330,000 reviews.
Flappy Bird’s has been smooth sailing in the #1 spot on the App Store’s free apps column since the last week and a half was unforeseen. There is not much to this simple 2D indie game on the surface. The onscreen instructions are suspiciously clean as well. Tap the screen to make the bird go up. The bird sinks if taps are not made. Points are scored by steering the bird through a side-scrolling clutter of green pipes. Those dreaded green pipes. So in broad, the game seems simple enough. Even an infant could pick up on it.
But how does a game of such seemingly low complexity captivate the world as it had?
“The fact that the simplest and maybe stupidest thing can make such an impact on people is just ludicrous!” a fellow Sword & Shield staff writer exclaims.
Perhaps the genius of the game lies in its simplicity, just like the success Apple has seen with the grossly oversimplified graphics and interface of its mobile operating system, iOS7, which at first received a less-than-welcoming reception from consumers but shortly afterwards became integrated into the mainstream. What is more, the simplistic gameplay of Flappy Bird is fueled by the human desires to conquer challenges and compete against one another.
Flappy Bird has gained a cult following amongst gamers worldwide. Even here at University High School, a notable California Distinguished School, a regent of academia in Southern California, it is nearly impossible to find a classmate who has not already been reeled in by Flappy Bird’s frustrating yet tempting gameplay.
An anonymous source said, “I bet the devil himself won’t [sic] even dare to take on this abomination.” Immediately, he returned to the game.
“Socially, it took me away from my friends and detracted from my sleep hours. One time, I spent 2 hours in bed playing it” said another individual who identified himself only as an anonymous dying senior. Immediately, he doubled over in a fit of coughs. “Hold on, I’m dying.”
According to USA Today, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, was generating $50,000 in ad revenue per day from Flappy Bird alone!
Dong Nguyen via Twitter (@dongatory) described the success of his app as an achievement in a personal right. “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is [sic]a success of mine,” Nguyen tweets, “but it also ruins my simple life.”
It became apparent that what could arguably be one of the most outrageous success stories in mobile gaming history did not hit home with the developer himself. Nguyen was especially critical of the press for “overrating the success” of his game.
“It is something I never want. Please give me peace” he posted on February 4.
On February 8, Nguyen announced that within 22 hours, he would terminate distribution of Flappy Bird from the app store.
On Sunday morning of February 9th , App Store frequenters were surprised to find that Flappy Bird had mysteriously disappeared from the “Top Apps” list. Running a search under the developer’s name yields only his two other games, “Shuriken Block” and “Super Ball Juggling,” which have received comparatively modest attention to that of the now banished Flappy Bird. Read more about Flappy Bird’s developer here.
But is Flappy Bird gone for good?
Far from it!
Remnants of the infamous dang-nabbing bird that just would not stay up in the air live on in the devices of the millions of users who downloaded the app from the App Store or Google Play (and still haven’t deleted it). In addition, the games’ leaderboards are still accessible. Flappy Bird is still widely discussed all over internet forums, boards and social networks by enthusiasts.
“The circumstances revolving around the removal of the app is controversial,” a thoughtful Kezia Coster (Sr.) said. “I mean, it was a very popular app.”
But where there are remnants, the vultures will gather, for indeed other developers have shown intent to make their claims to fame off of Flappy Bird’s previous audience.
Already clones and rip-offs like “Ironpants,” “Fly Birdie,” “Splashy Fish” and “City Bird,” games based on the same mechanics as those of Flappy Bird’s, have sprung up, but have fallen far and out from the same intense limelight Flappy Bird enjoyed during its reign.
It is unbelievable how competitive developers’ originality has waned in recent years, but for some, imitating others’ success is the creed of business. It is reasonable however to fathom that once another anomaly arises in mobile gaming, the world might just lapse into another “Flappy Bird hype.” Time can only tell.
In spite of Dong Nguyen’s dwindling tweets since February 8 and Flappy Bird’s chances of future reappearances facing uncertainty, one thing at least is for sure: Flappy Bird has made a few weeks’ worth of gaming history for better or for worse.
By DMITRI PUH